With just 24 hours in New York, you won’t be able to get through all the city has to offer—everything from museums to history-rich neighborhoods and plenty of nightlife—but don’t let that hold you back. You can take a satisfying bite of the Big Apple in just one day with some careful planning. See below for our suggested 1-day itinerary.
Morning: Museums, Views, and Central Park
Kick off your day at a museum—the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), Metropolitan Museum of Art, and American Museum of Natural History are top-notch. Join an early-access guided tour to speed through collection highlights without crowds.
Whichever museum you choose, you won’t be far from Central Park, where you can rent a bike for an introduction to the city’s green space. From there, head to the 70th-floor Top of the Rock Observation Deck, where you’ll find views of the Empire State Building, Chrysler Building, and Brooklyn Bridge. To see these and more landmarks up close, board a hop-on hop-off bus and ride by essential sights.
Afternoon: Lower Manhattan
Head to Greenwich Village, the birthplace of the Beat movement and the area where legendary musicians such as Jimi Hendrix and Bob Dylan cut their teeth. On MacDougal Street is a bevy of dive bars, restaurants, and comedy clubs to be explored—take a walking tour to learn neighborhood history and avoid getting lost. (The neighborhood streets don’t follow the grid system.)
Further south among the glossy highrises of Manhattan’s Financial District is the National September 11 Memorial & Museum. Book a Ground Zero memorial tour for an insightful experience and upgrade to visit the 9/11 Museum.
Evening: Bar-Hopping or Broadway
Come evening, it’s time to enjoy a night out New York-style. With only one day, you don’t have time for even one bad drink. Instead, if you’re over 21, join a New York City bar crawl tour—perhaps one focusing on speakeasy-style cocktail joints in the East Village or one that visits New York’s rooftop lounges showcasing the city’s skyline. If you prefer the theater or have younger travelers in tow, opt for a Broadway performance instead. Disney’s screen-to-stage musicals are a hit with kids, and there’s never a shortage of shows playing Broadway.